Introduction to Collected Edition

I hardly remember writing the first words to this story. Through seemingly infinite permutations of indecision and creative upheaval, and, eventually, the finding of a calling I had never entertained (writing books), Whiz!Bam!Pow!, as it is, now, emerged. I may have been living in Cleveland, or maybe I was back in Boston for that brief spell, or maybe it was Killbuck, or maybe Apple Creek. Maybe I was in my mid-twenties, my late twenties, I’m not sure. It might have been, by the time that I actually put words to paper, my early thirties.

Fact is, I don’t remember. I do remember that the idea for this project began circulating in my grey matter sometime in 2007. Sitting to write this introduction, I barely recognize the story I’m introducing. But it is nevertheless, essential to my growth, both as a writer and as a human being, for better or worse.

This book you that you hold in your hand or the PDF that you behold on your screen, Whiz!Bam!Pow!, represents the culmination of the best and worst of my creative life thus far, a process of becoming. Like anything in life, it represents a beginning, and an ending:  the happiest moments, the most titanic failures, the moments where I thought all was lost, that I was letting everyone down, that I was letting myself down; then there are moments like recording the radio shows, The Adventures of the Sentinel (included inside this PDF), beholding the first art from Blair, working with Paul in the waning days of my failed experiment in home ownership, that made all of this worthwhile; it is all reflected here.

I had such grand plans for this story: it would explore all that I had learned about transmedia storytelling, all of the new things I wanted to try; it would pay tribute to my lifelong love of comics; it would make use of all of the technology that I could muster, things I would try to master. But, like all grand plans, it didn’t turn out that way. Reality and mortality showed me that. It did, however, turn out how it needed to turn out and to become what it is: less a complete project and more a record of a writer finding his own voice in life and in art.

In all of the talks and guest lectures I’ve done in the wake of publishing the textbook that spun out of this project, Comics for Film, Games and Animation: Using Comics to Construct Your Transmedia Storyworld, I concluded by saying that no matter the tech, the latest and greatest, the newest and most enticing, all that mattered at the end of the day was a good story.

And so I’ve tried to capture that. I just wanted to write a good story. I hope I did, even if I barely remember writing it, now; even if, if I were writing it today, I would change everything. But I will change nothing. Everything is as it was when I began serializing this story in 2012.

It’s always been said that any form of art is never finished, simply abandoned. Maybe that’s the case with Whiz!Bam!Pow!, or maybe it will rise again. But for now, it has to be considered at its end. Revisiting the work as I’ve put this collected edition together has been a reunion of sorts with some of the characters I spent so much time with, with Ollie and Lena, with Frank and Curls. We got each other through, even though we had to find each other in a mutual sense of creation.

A few words before I shut up: in the back of the book, you will find an Acknowledgements section that’s a little different than the norm. In lieu of words, there are 12 advertisements, done in a 1930s vintage advertising style, for the extremely patient backers of the WBP Indigegogo campaign. Each of those ads is clickable (or should be). Click through, and you will be directed to a “Thank you” page on that will give you links to that particular backer’s work. Please do click through and explore some of the fantastic stuff these fellow creators are making.

To all who were with me on this journey, to all who lent their talent and their voice and their minds and their patience (so much patience), I am eternally grateful. This was one hell of a journey, and (for) now, it is at its end.

– TW, 14 December 2015